Recently completed Mulkey Ridge Trail
allows runners to connect Bald Hill Park to the Fitton Green Natural Area. The Mulkey Ridge Trail
connects the two areas and allows for miles of running right in Corvallis' back yard. On clear days looking west you'll take in the sights of local farms, rolling hills, Reser Stadium and the snow-covered Three Sisters.
Need to Know
Currently the section of the route on the gravel road that connects Bald Hill to the Mulkey Ridge Trail
(the Fitton Green Connector Trail
) is under construction, this should be finished by late summer and provide a new path next to the road for runners and hikers. There is poor cell coverage once you get in the steep hills and valleys so make sure someone knows where you are going and when to expect you back. If running at dawn or dusk be aware that there are frequent cougar sightings so be big cat cautious.
Some sections of trail have loose gravel that warrant paying attention especially on the switchbacks. As with most of the trails in the area, poison oak is something to be aware of if you venture even a foot off the trail.
Park at the north parking lot for the Bald Hill Open Spaces. Make sure to fill up any water bottles you might want at home because there is no water at the trailhead. Start down the path and immediately cross a bridge and take the gravel path on the right. This path works its way to the west between fields and Oak Creek. After about 1/3rd of a mile you exit onto a gravel road, turn left and stick to the road as you climb in the open towards the hills and lush forest ahead.
At about 3/4 of a mile after you pass a quaint looking farm on the right you'll see a bit of singletrack heading off to the right. Taking this, you are plunged into forested cover and rolling hills. At little more than a mile, the trail forks and there is a map showing the local trails, turn left down the hill and cross a small creek via the bridge.
Begin to climb steeply with switchbacks for about a half of a mile until the grade relents and the climbing becomes more gradual. At around 1.8 miles you'll come to a fork in the trail, you can take either side as they meet back up shortly (this is a good turn around if you're only looking for a shorter run). On the back side of the island of trees (2 miles) the new trail that connects Mulkey Creek to Fitton Green begins.
This singletrack rolls along in open forest for the next mile or so. Exiting the forest onto dirt roads you enter the Fitton Green Natural Area. Turn left as you exit and continue along the trail (mostly uphill) until you hit another Y in the road (4.25 miles). Stay to the left and bomb down the hill until you bottom out, things can be a bit confusing here so climb the short hill until the road tees into another and there is a map box to your right (~5 miles). Turn right and grind up a steep hill on gravel roads until you top it out.
A short downhill leads to the Cardwell Hill trailhead and your turn around point (~5.9 miles). On the way back watch out for the tight switchbacks and loose gravel and keep your eyes peeled for views of the Cascades.
Flora & Fauna
Run through secondary growth of Douglas fir as well as farm fields (thanks to the Greenbelt Land Trust for securing the right of way!) and open oak savanna. In the summer and fall keep an eye out for poison oak and blackberry bushes.
Shared By: Ty Atwater